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Joe Deely's picture
Partner Deely Group

Involved with high-tech for last 30 years. Interested in energy.

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  • Oct 19, 2020
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With the closure of Boardman coal plant, Oregon will no longer have any in-state coal plants. Great news. Note: Oregon will still import coal from other Western states - primarily the remaining two units at the Colstrip plant in Montana. By Oregon law this will need to stop by 2035.

With the continued closure of coal units out West the grid keeps getting cleaner. In the last five years the amount of coal production in Western states (AZ,CA,CO,ID,MT,NM,NV,OR,UT,WA,WY) dropped from 205 TWh in 2014 to just 150TWh in 2019.  Huge progress.

With more coal plant closures already lined up and a big pipeline of renewable and storage projects out West coal generation is set to drop below 20TWh by 2030. 

We might even see some new nuclear generation in Idaho by 2026/2027. This would be a replacement for the coal generation at the InterMountain plant in UT which is scheduled to close in 2025.

 

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Gary Hilberg's picture
Gary Hilberg on Oct 19, 2020

Interesting positioning of this closure, Boardman had limited pollution control equipment and was the largest stationary SO2 source in Oregon, also a major CO2 source.  Plant started up in the late 1970's, did not run much while Trojan nuclear power plant was operational so Oregon used little coal. In the early 1990's political pressure closed Trojan and since then Boardman ran much more.  Interesting how the politics of clean energy have changed over the decades.    

Tim Hunt's picture
Tim Hunt on Oct 19, 2020

Ouch..... Warren Buffet will not be happy. Those coal trains coming through Spokane will put some dent in the coal hauling business...........

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 19, 2020

We might even see some new nuclear generation in Idaho by 2026/2027. This would be a replacement for the coal generation at the InterMountain plant in UT which is scheduled to close in 2025.

Would the SMRs in Idaho be replacing that directly? I would think the gap in time between one closure and the nuclear opening would be indicative of something else (whether gas or renewables) filling in the gap left by the coal, and then the new nuclear would replace whatever is next in line for replacement (likely gas). 

Gary Hilberg's picture
Gary Hilberg on Oct 19, 2020

Matt - Portland General is articulating a mix of projects to replace the generation.  In reality, the responsive capacity will come from the gas fired units in the area, PGE has at least one maybe more and there are some IPP's in the same area, a major interstate gas pipeline runs down from Canada east of the Cascades.  

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